I literally grew up with char siew pao (叉烧包). They are the best things to have anywhere. If I were walking home from the public bus stop, I would buy one to munch on the way. These can be bought in any coffee shop in Singapore and Malaysia, and they can be bought in every Cantonese restaurant in every Chinatown in the world.

The best versions char siu pao are of course those from the Hong Kong dim sum restaurants. Besides this version that I do here, there is the sour dough version that I have never bothered to make, simply because the effort it takes to do that is crazy. The incremental enjoyment from the sour dough version is just not worth the gargantuan extra effort.

Talking about effort. I went one level further, and made this batch of char siew pao in one hour today. I realized that over proving the dough make it chewy and I don’t really like that.

This version of char siew pao is easy to make, takes short time, you’ll never need to slave, and everything is made from scratch. The biggest thing is, it is such a crowd pleaser!

I also made the char siew today.

char siu pao

Char Siu Pao


  • 1 kg Pork butt cut into a strip for char siu

Char Siu Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese wine or sherry optional

Dumpling Skin

  • 500 g Hong Kong flour or plain flour
  • 270 g Water at 70 degree Celsius
  • 5 g Instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil Optional


  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp scallions



  • This is the sequence of how I made these dumplings: make char siu and leave it to bake in the oven, while char siu is in the oven, mix dough and leave it to proof covered, while dough is proofing, make filings and leave it in the freezer to cool, while filings is in the freezer, weigh dough into 30g each. When weighing is done, wrap filings in dough. Then steam!

Make black char siu

  • Preheat the oven at 250C.
  • Season the pork with all the ingredients for the char siu seasoning.
  • Leave it aside for a while, today, I only seasoned the pork for 10 minutes and it tastes great.
  • Bake the char siu on a high rack in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the char siu over and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Set char siu aside.

Make Dumpling Skin

  • Mix all the ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.
  • Leave to proof covered until 1.5 times its original volume. This took as long as I needed to finish making the filings.

Making the filing

  • Drain all the sauce from the char siu into a pot.
  • Add water if need be, corn starch and scallions.
  • Adjust with seasonings to your taste.
  • Cook until it becomes a thick sauce. Remove from heat.
  • Slice the char siu into thin and small slices and place them into the mixture and stir through.
  • Freeze this mixture until ready to be used.

Make Bao

  • Divide the dough into 30g each.
  • Wrap a teaspoon of the filings into the bao.
  • Fold up (see video below) and put them on a bamboo steamer lined with grease proof paper.
  • Let it proof for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Steam at 100C for 10 minutes.


The following video shows us how to fold and wrap a bao.

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